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Pacific Islands Forum Leaders and UN Secretary General

07 September 2011

Joint Statement of Pacific Islands Forum Leaders and UN Secretary General

7 September 2011, Auckland, New Zealand

Pacific Island Forum (PIF) Leaders and the Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN) met on 7 September 2011 during the 42nd Pacific Islands Forum in Auckland, New Zealand.

At their meeting, PIF Leaders acknowledged the valuable contribution made by the UN system in the Pacific, and welcomed the first ever attendance at the PIF by a Secretary-General of the UN.

The Secretary-General congratulated PIF Leaders on the 40th Anniversary of the establishment of the PIF, and acknowledged the key role it plays in promoting sustainable development, environmental protection, good governance and peace and security through regional cooperation in the Pacific.

The Secretary General welcomed the focus at this year’s PIF on sustainable economic development.

PIF Leaders and the Secretary-General:

Emphasised the value of cooperation between the UN system and the PIF and its associated institutions, and agreed to consider ways to further strengthen this cooperation.

Agreed on the importance of sustainable economic growth in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in the Pacific; and discussed ways of enhancing the work of United Nations system in the region to support these efforts, including the possibility of utilising the MDG Acceleration Framework to help identify national priorities for action in each Pacific island country.

Discussed key challenges facing the Pacific region and stressed the role of the UN system in assisting Pacific island countries to address these challenges, including through alignment of its programmes with the objectives and priorities established in the national sustainable development strategies of Pacific island countries and under international and regional frameworks including the Barbados Programme of Action (BPOA), the Mauritius Strategy, the Istanbul Programme of Action (IPOA) and the Pacific Plan.

Stressed that climate change and ocean acidification remained the greatest threat to the livelihoods, security and well-being of the peoples of the Pacific; and reaffirmed the need for urgent international action to reduce emissions commensurate with the science and associated impacts of climate change and ocean acidification on the most vulnerable Pacific communities and peoples. They emphasised the need for an ambitious reduction of greenhouse gas emissions sufficient to enable the survival and viability of all Pacific Small Island Developing States (SIDS), and for the UNFCCC COP17 in Durban to deliver a comprehensive outcome consistent with this objective. They also stressed the need to address in all relevant international fora, including but not limited to the UNFCCC, the General Assembly and the UN Security Council, the urgent social, economic and security threats caused or exacerbated by the adverse impacts of ocean acidification and climate change, including the implications of sea level rise for the territorial integrity of Pacific SIDS and their continued existence as viable dynamic communities; and welcomed in this regard the recent Security Council open debate and Presidential Statement on the Maintenance of International Peace and Security: Impact of Climate Change. They highlighted the role of the UN system in supporting national, regional and international efforts to address these impacts.

Stressed the critical importance of the sustainable development, management and conservation of the region’s oceans, coastal and fisheries resources as a source of livelihoods and income for communities, industries and governments, and of enabling Pacific SIDS to enjoy a greater share of the benefits derived from those resources. They called for such issues, often referred to as the ‘Blue Economy’, to figure prominently at next year’s UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20). They urged the international community to tackle threats to marine ecosystems and work towards integrated oceans management and a global network of marine protected areas.

Acknowledged the UN’s key role in the maintenance of international peace and security and the PIF’s leading contribution to addressing regional peace and security challenges. They noted the value of enhanced cooperation and experience-sharing between the two Organizations on conflict prevention, peace-making, mediation, peace-keeping and peace-building, building on positive experiences in Bougainville and Solomon Islands.

Noted a range of other areas in which cooperation between the UN and Pacific states would support the national priorities identified by PIF Leaders and the BPOA, Mauritius Strategy, IPOA and the Pacific Plan. These included: enhancing the productive capacity of Pacific SIDS; food security; renewable energy; disaster preparedness and risk reduction, and emergency relief and recovery; non-proliferation and disarmament, including controlling the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons and negotiation of an Arms Trade Treaty; addressing the ongoing impacts of nuclear testing in the Pacific; preventing and addressing the impacts of non-communicable diseases in the region; and promoting good governance, democracy, the rule of law and human rights, and addressing violence against women.

Agreed on the importance, resources permitting, of ensuring an enhanced UN presence in the Pacific region, including at the country level, to promote effective dialogue and cooperation in priority areas of mutual interest, recognising recent steps by the UN system in this regard.

Reaffirmed the unique and particular vulnerabilities and development needs of SIDS, and emphasised the importance of enhanced coherence, coordination and responsiveness in the UN system's support for SIDS.
Stressed the importance of regular high-level dialogue, and agreed to convene meetings between the Secretary-General of the UN and PIF Leaders at regular intervals, beginning on the margins of the opening of the 67th Session of the UN General Assembly in New York in September 2012.

ENDS

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